May 9, 2008 - We rushed down from Gorak Shep all the way back to Dingboche...

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Dingboche (4.350m)

Yesterday was, as expected, rather without excitement. We rushed down from Gorak Shep all the way back to Dingboche which we left four days ago. Having spent almost three days at or above 5000m we all felt tired and worn out. It was nice to be able to breathe the rather “thick” air 900 meters below Gorak Shep.

Today was rather more filled with excitement. The morning started off with parting of friends. Lena and Greger started their way down pushing all the way from Dingboche to Namche Bazar. A full two day trip going up but going down, well acclimatized and in good shape after ten days of hard trekking now done in just one. It was a little bit sad watching them go and I also think Rolle Per-Ivar and myself was a little bit jealous knowing they soon would be able to enjoy the great comfort of showers, clean cloths and sleeping in beds. The rest of us started up the valley to Chukhung to start the climb of Island Peak.

A mere two hours trek but almost 400 meters higher than Dingboche. Sadly enough, my attempt to climb Island Peak ended here. All the way throughout the last ten days I’ve been bothered by a cold. Sour throat and not feeling 100%. When we placed Hope at Kalapathar Per-Ivar, Rolle and I really made a push for it. We climbed the peak in a little more than half the normal time afraid the weather, and the view, would turn bad as it has done every day. We then stayed almost three hours at 5.545m and got really cold while placing Hope. This I’m afraid wasn’t good for my health. The day after, going to Base Camp I started feeling pains in my chest when breathing deeply. And you do a lot of that up here. This got worse during the day and night and I started eating antibiotics afraid I’d caught pneumonia. I also started eating high altitude medicine in case this was causing
my problems. During yesterdays long trek downhill felt ok but not good. When arriving at Dingboche however I was feeling really bad again and skipped the tent and spent the night inside the lodge.

Waking up this morning I felt great and went with Per-Ivar and Rolle up to Chukhung. It was all nice until passing 4.600m then the pain came back. Now much worse than before. I had no choice but to turn back down and forget about the Island peak summit. Leaving Per-Ivar and Rolle our last hope of reaching our third and last goal of the expedition. On my return to Dingboche I immediately continued to the nearby village of Pheriche where there is a small hospital specialized in high altitude problems. After examination it was clear my problems were not directly caused by the altitude but rather by a virus or infection. The altitude making it worse. The

cure – go down as quickly as possible. So tomorrow I will follow in Lenas and Gregers foot paths going down to Kathmandu, via Namche Bazar and Lukla, were I will wait for Rolle and Per-Ivar. Lena and Greger is going home some days before the three of us. Right now I don’t even feel disappointed about what happened. It was the right decision, I had no other choice. This is not child’s play, I have already had one close friend almost killed by the altitude and if you get sick up here you can do only one thing. Go down. The mountain is still there, I will get another chance some other time.